Chronotype and time-of-day influences on the alerting, orienting, and executive components of attention

Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, PA 16601, USA.
Experimental Brain Research (Impact Factor: 2.04). 10/2008; 192(2):189-98. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-008-1567-6
Source: PubMed


Recent research on attention has identified three separable components, known as alerting, orienting, and executive functioning, which are thought to be subserved by distinct neural networks. Despite systematic investigation into their relatedness to each other and to psychopathology, little is known about how these three networks might be modulated by such factors as time-of-day and chronotype. The present study administered the Attentional Network Test (ANT) and a self-report measure of alertness to 80 participants at 0800, 1200, 1600, and 2000 hours on the same day. Participants were also chronotyped with a morningness/eveningness questionnaire and divided into evening versus morning/neither-type groups; morning chronotypes tend to perform better early in the day, while evening chronotypes show enhanced performance later in the day. The results replicated the lack of any correlations between alerting, orienting, and executive functioning, supporting the independence of these three networks. There was an effect of time-of-day on executive functioning with higher conflict scores at 1200 and 1600 hours for both chronotypes. The efficiency of the orienting system did not change as a function of time-of-day or chronotype. The alerting measure, however, showed an interaction between time-of-day and chronotype such that alerting scores increased only for the morning/neither-type participants in the latter half of the day. There was also an interaction between time-of-day and chronotype for self-reported alertness, such that it increased during the first half of the day for all participants, but then decreased for morning/neither types (only) toward evening. This is the first report to examine changes in the trinity of attentional networks measured by the ANT throughout a normal day in a large group of normal participants, and it encourages more integration between chronobiology and cognitive neuroscience for both theoretical and practical reasons.

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Available from: Robert L Matchock
    • "" Intermediate " types are the ones with a moderate circadian habit and are located between those two extremes. One's circadian preference has been considered to affect his/her cognitive functions like attention (Matchock & Mordkoff, 2009), thinking style (Fabbri et al., 2007), visual search (Natale et al., 2003), cognitive failure (Mecacci et al., 2004), intelligence (Goldstein et al., 2007; Roberts & Kyllonen, 1999) and academic achievement (e.g. Beşoluk, 2011; Digdon & Howell, 2008; Hess et al., 2000; Randler & Frech, 2006, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous findings have demonstrated that chronotype (morningness/intermediate/eveningness) is correlated with cognitive functions, that is, people show higher mental performance when they do a test at their preferred time of day. Empirical studies found a relationship between morningness and higher learning achievement at school and university. However, only a few of them controlled for other moderating and mediating variables. In this study, we included chronotype, gender, conscientiousness and test anxiety in a structural equation model (SEM) with grade point average (GPA) as academic achievement outcome. Participants were 158 high school students and results revealed that boys and girls differed in GPA and test anxiety significantly, with girls reporting better grades and higher test anxiety. Moreover, there was a positive correlation between conscientiousness and GPA (r = 0.17) and morningness (r = 0.29), respectively, and a negative correlation between conscientiousness and test anxiety (r = -0.22). The SEM demonstrated that gender was the strongest predictor of academic achievement. Lower test anxiety predicted higher GPA in girls but not in boys. Additionally, chronotype as moderator revealed a significant association between gender and GPA for evening types and intermediate types, while intermediate types showed a significant relationship between test anxiety and GPA. Our results suggest that gender is an essential predictor of academic achievement even stronger than low or absent test anxiety. Future studies are needed to explore how gender and chronotype act together in a longitudinal panel design and how chronotype is mediated by conscientiousness in the prediction of academic achievement.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Chronobiology International
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    • "The circadian effects mean attention changes with the time in the day, with later times associated with both eveningness chronotypes and better attention. Matchock and Mordkoff (2009) found that in late adolescence general attentional scores for all chronotypes were significantly low at 08:00 and twice as high at 12:00, 16:00 and 20:00. Similarly, adolescents perform better in tests later in the day (Hansen et al., 2005; Hahn et al., 2007; Carrell, Maghakian and West 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Arne Duncan, US Secretary of State for Education, tweeted in 2013: ‘let teens sleep, start school later’. This paper examines early starts and their negative consequences in the light of key research in the last 30 years in sleep medicine and circadian neuroscience. An overview of the circadian timing system in adolescence leading to changes in sleep patterns is given and underpins the conclusion that altering education times can both improve learning and reduce health risks. Further research is considered from education, sleep medicine and neuroscience studies illustrating these improvements. The implementation of later starts is briefly considered in light of other education interventions to improve learning. Finally, the impact of introducing research-based later starts synchronized to adolescent biology is considered in practical and policy terms.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Learning Media and Technology
    • "On the basis of the results of previous studies on dawn simulator (Fromm et al. 2011; Gabel et al. 2013; Giménez et al. 2010; Thompson et al. 2014; Thorn et al. 2004; van de Werken et al. 2010) and taking into account that the well-known alerting effects of light (Cajochen 2007) seem to be modulated by some cortical networks that partially overlap with the suggested cortical substrate of the alerting network (i.e., parietal, insular and thalamic areas) (Fan et al. 2005), we could expect a better attentional performance after the use of dawn simulator , especially with reference to the alerting network. Since the likelihood that the attentional performance at the ANT could be modulated by sleep quality and sleep duration (Jugovac and Cavallero 2012) as well as sleep timing (Matchock and Mordkoff 2009), here such parameters were objectively monitored through actigraphy and treated as potentially confounding variables. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: This study aimed at examining the effects of 2 weeks of dawn simulation on attentional performance in adolescents. Methods: On the whole, 56 adolescents (24 females and 32 males) took part to the study, with a mean age of 17.68 ± 0.97 years (age ranging between 15 and 20 years). Each adolescent was requested to participate for 5 consecutive weeks and the research design included the baseline and two counterbalanced conditions, dawn simulator and control (no dawn simulator). Attentional performance of adolescents was measured through the attention network test (ANT) that allowed assessing the efficiency of three separable attentional networks, namely alerting, orienting and executive. Overall, participants performed the ANT three times (i.e., one time for each condition), while sleep quality, sleep duration and sleep timing were concurrently monitored by means of actigraphy and were treated as potential confounders. Results: The only improvement of the attentional performance attributable to the use of dawn simulator was observed for the efficiency of alerting network (45.97 ± 32.76 ms) that significantly increased in comparison to the baseline (31.57 ± 26.97 ms) (p < 0.05). On the contrary, the sleep quality, sleep quantity and sleep timing did not significantly change. Conclusion: These results show for the first time that, controlling for sleep quality, sleep duration and sleep timing, the use of dawn simulator across 2 weeks is able to determine an alerting effect in adolescents.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Arbeitsphysiologie
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